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Friday, August 24, 2012

Day 3: Bone Stimulators

Day 3: Bone Stimulators

     I have used bone stimulators to help heal fractures that are notorious for slow healing for the last 25 plus years. The early versions had to be embedded initially under your skin with a minor surgery. But then happily came the external ones which could be used as long as you had a cast on (they were embedded into the cast). These ran for 24/7 sending an electrical impulse across the fracture. If you know that in electricity like dating that opposites attract, these bone stims placed a negative charge on 1/2 of the fracture, and a positive charge on the other 1/2. These units still exist, but send the current from a patch into the skin. For the last 10 years or so, I have used the Exogen unit from Smith and Nephew. It actually uses ultrasound to merely increase circulation to the bone directly. You apply a patch connected to some wires to your skin and twice daily for 20 minutes while you multitask stimulate your bone. I use this on many types of fractures, but particularly the 3 most stubborn fractures in the foot: Sesamoid, Jones Fifth Metatarsal, and Navicular.

     To drive home the importance of bone stimulators, there is the first paragraph from an email I received today.

Dear Dr. Blake,

I am writing to first update you to say my sesamoid is now healed!!! Actually as of a few months after my April 2011 email below to you :)) After being quite upset with my progress the Doctor finally recommended we try to get me a bone growth stimulator. My insurance wouldn't pay for it ($3500) but FORTUNATELY the company that had them offered me one for free based on my situation. IT WAS A MIRACLE! To this day I am so thankful for that that company and that device. After just a few days of use I noticed "something" different. After two weeks it felt better and by May/June I was surfing again. I still remained ginger with it for the next several months. When walking, popping up on my board or doing yoga related sequences where flexion is called for. The tenderness remained for a throughout 2011 but very light which I think was simply from not using the tendon/muscles for so long. So by winter 2011/12 which was well over a year from the injury, I was finally doing most things I never thought I'd be able to do again! I highly recommend the bone growth stimulator. I also thank you so much for your words of encouragement along my healing progess. Without you I may have lost it.


  1. Does anyone have any experience with an Orthofix bone stimulator?

  2. I have a fifth metatarsal fracture at the base of the bone. After 4 wks with a boot my dr. recommended an Orthofix bone stimulator. There has been approx. a 50% improvement and I am now going into my 5th week. Most of my pain and burning has diminished to the point where I rarely even have to take ibuprofen.


Thank you very much for leaving a comment. Due to my time restraints, some comments may not be answered.I will answer questions that I feel will help the community as a whole.. I can only answer medical questions in a general form. No specific answers can be given. Please consult a podiatrist, therapist, orthopedist, or sports medicine physician in your area for specific questions.